David Szpunar: Owner, Servant 42 and Servant Voice

David's Church Information Technology

June 16th, 2008 at 4:33 pm

Making A Donated Wyse WT3350SE Thin Client Terminal Work (with Pre-9/11 Firmware!)

in: Hardware

A while back, thanks to a generous friend, Lakeview had a batch of Wyse WT3350SE Thin Clients donated to us (two initially, then a bunch more later on). Only a few power supplies to go around, but enough to play with (looks like eBay has a few I may pick up). I tried the first two when I first got them and had some initial issues connecting to our Terminal Server (running Server 2003) with one, and another had issues even getting that far. The newer ones I never got around to playing with, but I keep getting requests for basic workstations that we don’t have right now. Must be time to get these thin clients working!

The short story is yes, I got them working! At least two so far; I’ve tried a third but it won’t even power on. The answer came through Googling and guessing. Here’s how I got them working (mostly the working part, but I’ll add a few notes about the journey).

First, I had to locate a PS/2 keyboard and mouse. There are two USB ports on each of these units, but I don’t know if they’ll accept USB keyboards or mice and PS/2 ports are there and are the lowest common denominator (I tested a USB keyboard later with no success). With that done, I took one of the few power supplies I have, plugged it in with the keyboard and mouse, add Ethernet and VGA monitor (an analog input on one of my LCD panels worked fine, and hit Power. Took a few seconds to boot up, right to a login screen. Wow, that’s helpful, given that these were in another environment! No hint of a way to configure what server to connect to, either. Time for Google!

A few unfruitful searches finally brought results with the term “wt3350se update firmware” (without quotes) since I figured maybe updating the firmware would be a good method of getting control over the devices. The link I found was to Free Wyse Monkeys, specifically an article called Reset to Factory Defaults or Unlock a Wyse Terminal. This article seems to contain the world’s last remaining knowledge on getting into old Wyse terminals (as far as Google is concerned). I even hit up the Wyse official website without finding any documentation other than some firmware updates available for download (I’ll be coming back to those later).

The biggest key that helped me from Free Wyse Monkeys’ article was the note to try holding the “G” key on the keyboard while booting to reset and get into the settings screen. It worked! When I tried it, instead of a login screen I ended up at the Winterm Connection Manager with a “Default ICA Connection” staring back at me with beady black-on-gray eyes, and a title bar that said “Press F2 to select Terminal Properties.” Proceeding thus, there were all sorts of options available, but what I wanted was to connect with RDP to the Terminal Server and not Citrix, which we don’t have. The Terminal Properties window has a lot of tabs, but the best one for me ended up being the Upgrade tab: this tab let me input an FTP server to use for firmware updates! Wait a minute, didn’t I find some of those earlier? Why, yes I did! Firmware v3.5.1 was available in both Citrix (ICA) and RDP types, the one I wanted was called l44122rdp-wye.exe which I promptly downloaded and extracted. Yay, a bunch of files that were mostly meaningless! There was a bootstrap.exe file and such…it looks like there are a few ways from the Monkeys article I could use to perform the upgrade but they all required a DOS box. I’m a bit short of those at the moment.

But back to FTP. What if I just stuck the files on an FTP server and pointed the terminal at it for an upgrade? Couldn’t make things work worse than they already did, since they didn’t. I grabbed Filezilla Server because I didn’t feel like setting up the IIS FTP service just to test my theory. Set up a test user with access to the directory inside my extracted firmware (the firmware was a .exe that extracted files to a folder, inside the folder there was another folder called “441-223350rdp” which is what I set as the FTP root, with the actual firmware file being called “L441224F.wye”). Back to the Upgrade tab on the thin client. I input the Server Name of my machine, left Server Directory blank, and entered the User ID and password I’d set up in Filezilla Server. Then I clicked the button I assumed would begin the upgrade, if it worked (how did I guess? Fortunately, the button said, “Upgrade.” Clever!). Up pops a little warning box saying something to the effect of “Warning! This will do an upgrade. Don’t stop once you start. Are you sure?” only a long longer (OK it wasn’t too bad).

Twenty seconds later the flash was downloaded, and precisely 70 seconds later from the time I clicked Upgrade the terminal restarted itself, only to come back and let me create a New Connection in the Winterm Connection Manager, this time of type “Microsoft Remote Desktop Client.” Bingo! I’d say that’s exactly what I was looking for. I created a new connection with the details of our terminal server, and tried it. Success! There are still a variety of settings available in the Terminal Properties (hitting F2 at the connection screen) and it appears if I want to get fancy, I can configure a lot of this stuff through DHCP options to the thin clients as well. Time to look for some additional power supplies, keyboards, and mice, and contemplate some monitors. I’ve got a couple of people needing some “computers”! The color depth isn’t great but Outlook and Word will run just fine.

Just one thing unsolved: what does the third Wyse firmware do? There are three downloads, one ICA, one RDP, and another called L369_20Wye0.exe. I have no idea what this does. Not sure if I’m going to try it or not. (OK, I tried this before posting. It installs an older firmware version (3.41 SP3) that has Citrix and RDP connection capabilities. Perhaps this is the version I had problems with in the past. I didn’t leave it installed for long, and went back to what worked the first time, version 3.5.1 Service Pack 2.)

Also, noticed that the firmware images are dated Sept. 4, 2001. Exactly one week before the 9/11 attacks. No particular reason why this matters, just weird to be using “pre-9/11” technology and software!

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    Thanks for using freewysemonkeys, glad you got your terminals working!

    There are a few ways to upgrade and different files as you found, but here is the drill:

    Full firmware:
    These contain the full firmware with all the software components like the RDP client. the firs number is the Microsoft release so “2xx_xx” is CE 2.x, “3xx_xx” is CE3.x and “4xx_xx” is CE4.x. As the firmware gets newer is gets bigger so you may not have the flash space to load a CE4 image.

    There are also modular components that can be added, like the RDP client you loaded up from inside the GUI. These are tied to the base firmware version – you can not load the RDP5 client to CE 2.12 for example.

    Fell free to post in the freewysemonkeys forums if you have questions,


    ThinkThin on July 6th, 2008
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    Hey David!
    Currently, I’m a IT Volunteer for my church (the only one, really), and am working closely with the pastoral staff on the IT Infrastructure for a new children’s wing we’re building.
    In the new wing, we will be using freestanding computer kiosks to check in children as they arrive, using a web-based system. The systems will only need to provide web access using a web browser, nothing more. Given that even a low-end PC would be overkill for the task, I was thinking of using a Thin Client (a Wyse S90, specifically) with XP Embedded for the task, and use IE6 as the browser.
    Given that you do this for a living, I’d like your opinion: am I insane, or is this really a good way to save money?

    Bill Green on August 10th, 2008
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    @ThinkThin: Thank you for your additional comments! I will dig in a bit deeper in the future as I have time (wish I had more! Don’t we all? :-)

    @Bill Green: Hi! I only have experience with the Wyse terminal I posted about, and that’s the extent of my thin client experience. What you’re saying sounds like a very workable solution, but I would verify with your check-in provider that they support IE6 both now and will continue to in the future, since you will be locked into using that browser. IE6 support is going away in many areas because it’s so non-standard since IE7 came out and IE8 is in the works (and where it’s still supported, I wish it weren’t! But that’s for another day :-)

    Anyway, if everything checks out, it sounds workable, but you might want to ask around in the #citrt channel on the Freenode IRC network, that’s where a bunch of Church IT Roundtable folks hang out, some of whom have much more thin client (especially for child checkin!) experience than I do! You can get to the chat channel from your web browser at this link if you are not familiar with IRC or IRC client software. Jump in and ask someone; if you don’t get a response people may be busy (or at lunch), try again later! There’s usually someone around who can help or point you to someone who can.

    David Szpunar on August 12th, 2008
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    I just wanted to say thank you for your post. I picked up a few of these units and wasn’t successful until I found your post. In no time I had these units up and working. Thanks again!

    Dan Farrer on May 11th, 2009
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    Glad it was useful, it certainly took me a while to track down the right instructions and software!

    David Szpunar on May 26th, 2009